Last weekend, John Paul II hosted the Bishop Lyons Shield Competition. In our first-time hosting since 2014, we welcomed St Bede's, Marian, Villa Maria, St Thomas’, Roncalli, and Catholic Cathedral Colleges.
After the opening powhiri, Friday evening saw the Impromptu Speeches and first round of Debating. While Alyssa Rose’s impromptu speech didn’t pan out as planned, the debaters did have success. Our young swing team of Anja Schoeman, Isabel Johansen, and Katie Boddy held their own and narrowly went down to defending champions Catholic Cathedral College. Our debate teams have been working tirelessly over the past month under the direction of Mrs McMillan; the skill and preparedness showed through immediately.
Meanwhile, our main debate team of Sami Donaldson, Libby Boddy, and Jack Byrne took on Villa Maria winning their moot around performance-based pay for teachers. The pivotal moment in this moot came when Jack Byne as third speaker tore down all of the Villa Maria points. This was John Paul’s first win in any debate in six years and ended the opening day on a high.
Saturday morning saw the second round of debates. In a reversal of the Friday fixtures. Catholic Cathedral were seeking to make it two from two against John Paul. It was clear from the outset that John Paul was significantly more prepared for the moot of schools being able to punish students for offenses committed outside of school. In our most complete and comprehensive performance of the weekend, the debaters went through to the final in style. Adding to this, Samantha Donaldson was presented with the trophy for best speaker, based on the points she had accumulated.
Attention then switched back to the hall for Prepared Speeches. Jack Rowe in Junior Prepared gave a powerful performance on the unique perspectives that homeschooling has given him, while Corianna Kitchin in the Senior Prepared was brilliant in explaining how to lean into what sets us apart and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Prepared speeches has historically been a lottery when it comes to results, and this year was no different with Corianna and Jack both missing out on a placing.
The debate final in the afternoon moved into the hall, with all eyes on our debaters up against St Bede's College. For this moot, that schools should introduce minimum academic requirements for student athletes, each school was not permitted any assistance from teachers. John Paul’s proposal was simple and effective, with St Bede's tying themselves up in knots. Libby Boddy was particularly cutting as she rebuked all of the St Bede's points, giving John Paul a split-decision victory and taking out the debate final.
The evening Mass at St Patrick’s Parish was presided over by Father Matthew and was enjoyed by all in attendance, both locals and students alike. Students from several schools participated and the singing was enthusiastic. After Mass was a catered dinner back at John Paul where students were able to mingle, eat, and play in the setting sun.
Sunday morning began with Scripture Reading. Always a heavily contested event, students read scripture in Te Reo before answering questions on how the text relates to their own life and the life of the Church. Olivia Johansen read incredibly well from the Acts of the Apostles and clearly articulated her answers; she was desperately unlucky not to place. Perhaps next year under the continued guidance of Ms Singer she may better her third-place efforts in the 2021 event.
Finally, the marquee event of Religious Questions. There was chaos leading into the event with Maia Grosser coming down with Covid the night before, meaning Kyra Johnson was asked to step up and join Sarah Manoj and Raphaela Roper. All three girls spoke from the heart, with reality and sensibility, weaving their answers together in response to the Pope’s published views on misinformation, malinformation, and disinformation in the face of the internet and social media age. The girls acquitted themselves admirably and were awarded joint third place.
Once the math had been triple checked by Mr Mulcahy, St Thomas of Canterbury College were announced the winners of the Bishop Lyons Shield for 2023. John Paul II was awarded fourth place overall in the competition of the seven schools, our best result in over a decade.
Special thanks need to go to our incredible team of 14 students, the students that came in to help all weekend, the teachers that coached and worked with the competitors, those that came to support and help out, plus all of the parents that were there to support also. It was an amazingly successful weekend, and we look forward to attending next year at Marian College. Below are just as few photos from the weekend